Ric Stott didn’t set out to be an award-winning architect: His first career was as a potter.
After several years in construction, he got his masters in architecture. He established his Southampton firm in 1988, and since then he’s been involved in hundreds of commercial and residential projects. Stott is best known for his devotion to energy efficient, environmentally responsible structures.
Behind the Hedges: What would you say is your signature style?
Ric Stott: I’ve always paid close attention to sustainability, and that is what I’m know for, but have been a mechanic and a craftsman my whole life. My work, with a few exceptions, uses traditional forms with modern interpretations like wide open spaces, translucent gables and simple but well-crafted detailing. Daylight and volume are major components of all my work.
BTH: Do you think there are types of homes or buildings that should not be built in the Hamptons?
RS: The conspicuous gambrel roof, an icon of wealth and pseudo sophistication, is usually overdone and poorly proportioned without any real research or historical reference. So, tongue-in-cheek: if I were king, I would outlaw gambrel roofs, but hey, some of these grand edifices are at the very top in terms of style and execution, and may be the source book for the next Gatsby novel. A drive in the Hamptons will expose gambrel roofs of every description and every proportion. In fact, the majority of the new homes have gambrel roofs.
BTH: What’s your favorite building in the Hamptons, by someone other than you?
RS: I think Norman Jaffe’s Jewish Center is one of the best, evocative, spiritual and important spaces around. I worked for Norman briefly and understand his focus and dedication to detail.
BTH: How would you like to be remembered?
RS: The most gratifying projects to me are the buildings I make for local people, either modest homes that folks love to come home to, or public spaces like police stations and emergency service buildings. I drove past East Quogue Park last weekend, a project that nobody knows I designed. It was full of people—I mean almost crowded. I would like to be known for designing spaces and working with people to make their lives better, happier, healthier and more productive.